As we all adjust to new realities in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, one thing that remains consistent is brands fighting for their share of voice as they communicate their responses to Covid-19.
Ranging from the thoughtful and heartfelt to the downright questionable, we’ve seen them all land in our inboxes and on our social media feeds. If we were ever in any doubt, Covid-19 has proven what good customer communications can look like, and of course, what the fallout can be when you get it wrong.
Here some of the team at Missive share examples of brands who have impressed them through communications in recent weeks; spoiler alert, it’s not always who you’d expect.
“Frequent visitor to the Missive office, my dog Dolly, is insured with Animal Friends. Pet insurance was honestly at the bottom of my thoughts when the coronavirus pandemic took full grip of the UK.
However, its ‘Important Information from Animal Friends’ email (I genuinely thought it was going to be asking me to renew my policy), provided some great content.
After a brief service update it gave top tips on how to cope with your pets during a time of restricted movement. It included how you as a human can cope, as well as keep your pet’s morale up, protect their mental health and even advised what you can feed them if you run out of dog food! By including value-add content to the email I read the whole thing and will actually do some of it.” Roberta Main Miller, account director
“I liked GBK’s email on Covid-19. It's somewhere between emotional and sentimental, but doesn't milk it. It does well to focus on the staff and their efforts, before moving on to the customer and thanking them for their support. It manages to keep its own tone of voice, talking about 'burger joy', but without making the email sound light-hearted. I thought the references to 'being reunited again soon,' offered some optimism, but without giving unrealistic dates.” Laura McReynolds, account manager
“It can be hard for consumer-facing brands to get the right balance in a crisis. They need to show how they’re doing their bit to help, without sounding like salespeople.
Levi’s is one brand that nailed this in a short, simple and humble email about the closing of its stores. Not only does it demonstrate that it is standing by its corporate values even when times get tough, by closing all stores with staff on full pay, but it acknowledges its own lack of importance in this situation: ‘Levi.com is always open, but we understand shopping for jeans is probably the last thing on your mind right now.’ Classy as hell.” Erin Lovett, senior account manager
“Anyone who knows me will know I’m an avid fan of celebrity chef and restaurateur Rick Stein, who posted a video on Twitter to announce the temporary closure of two of his restaurants.
You could genuinely see the hurt it caused him, and the humanity of his medium, direct to the camera, hit his sorrow and message home. He later had to defend himself against ugly and false allegations in the media about staff pay, which were expertly combated with a simple statement from his managing director. It was a painful watch for anyone, but his choice of channel and handling of crisis communications has really stood out to me.” Dominic Edge, consultant
Just a few words about closing our restaurants in the UK . Stay safe everyone and we will be back . pic.twitter.com/w54382lZOD— Rick Stein (@Rick_Stein) March 21, 2020
“I never thought I’d be an avid reader of multiple emails from Sainsbury’s, but it turns out it’s the content I’ve been waiting for all along. My nearest supermarket is a Sainsbury's and so naturally I was keeping an eye on its emails to see what changes were being made to opening times, etc.
Throughout recent weeks, regular emails from CEO Mike Coupe have explained the new measures being taken, in most cases directly addressing customer feedback and holding its hands up when it hasn’t worked.
The clear and transparent emails have impressed me and made me feel pretty happy to be a Sainsbury’s shopper.” Jules Lavin, account director
“To do its part, WhatsApp has hosted a page on its website offering to ‘help you connect with those who matter the most’.
WhatsApp has also partnered with the World Health Organisation to launch a tool called “WHO Health Alert,” a chatbot providing advice and answers to Covid-19 related questions in the hope of reducing the burden on the NHS.
A great example of how a messaging platform has used comms to ensure people receive official, trustworthy and timely information about the virus.” Flora Davies, consultant
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